At the risk of sounding a little too excited that my kids are now back in school, I have to admit it, a quiet house and a few hours of early morning peace is very much what I needed today. The two oldest are now both attending high school, one a senior and the other a freshman. The senior is excited to be back in school. Excited because it's the last year, and really looking forward to seeing all his friends again and getting back into the school routine. He's an overachiever and wants to be in college four years ago.
The freshman is also excited but afraid of the unknown. She is going from a school of 700 kids to a school of well over 2000 kids. She hopes to see some of her middle school friends, although I warned her, that might not happen, she just might have to make new friends--oh no, what am I saying!! She was nervous this morning and was driving everyone crazy with her jitters. However, she is very excited to be in High School now.
My first grader (Peanut) doesn't have to go to school until 8:30 so I get almost two hours to myself and if I prepared everything the night before I should have no trouble getting her, the toddler and myself ready to go on time. Peanut has been excited for days. She keeps saying she wants homework. I know, that soon will end. It's like when they insist on vacuuming the floor before they could even pull the vacuum then once they get some strength and are expected to do it, they refuse--well they try to refuse, they still have to do it.
I know they will have a lot to share with me today so I will prepare myself about 1/2 hour before they come home. I will need to be alert and ready to take in all the energy and information from the first day of school. I hope to fit in 1/2 hour of quiet time to sip some tea and relax--that would be ideal and wishful thinking. I will also need to be prepared to sign the reams of forms they bring home. I always wish they would just have one paper stating that I have read and understood every word they said....anyway, it is what it is.
Neither kid slept well last night with angst and anticipation for the new day, both got up before the alarm went off, changed clothes a couple of times before deciding what to wear and both looked nice, clean and groomed this morning. Let's see how long that lasts. It wont be long before I'm waking them up in the morning, literally peeling them out of bed and threatening to spray them with water. Hey if the alarm wont do the trick you have to take matters into your own hands.
And so it all begins again. Homework, projects, after school activities, school events, my school, my job at the gym, medical and dental appointments, and then there's the baby, well, the toddler-must make time for him too-THANK GOD he takes good naps. Knowing all I have to keep up with, I take some time very early in the morning, to reflect, plan the day's events, appointments, dinner and chores. A great part of making it through each busy week is to plan in advanced, to write down a to-do list and to stay on top of the little things or life can get chaotic and I'll begin to fall apart. My tips for a successful week, every week during the school year are:
1. Get ready the night before and encourage the kids to do the same. They can set aside what they will wear, make sure they have clean clothes and everything they need to get ready in the morning. All book bags should be ready to go by the door along with shoes, jackets or whatever else they need to take to school. Even lunches should be prepared in advanced. All this equals more sleep time for them, more quiet time for you and less stress in the early morning hours.
2. Set up a family calendar, online, hard copy or both, whatever works for the family. Outside of the usual appointments or events, your fitness schedule needs to be on here as well. It's not all about the kids and their extra curricular activities, mom and dad need to keep up with their fitness as well.
3. Set up a to-do list. These can be chores, special projects for school and home, things that need to be addressed at some point, whether they are to be done by mom, dad, or the kids. Check them off as they get done, you'll always know where the time went and feel a great sense of accomplishment.
4. Make a dinner menu for the week. Let the kids help choose the meals, the side dishes, dessert. Let them help cook or prepare food, set the table, clean up, sweep the floor. If everyone helps out, you will all be spending more family time together and everyone will be out of the kitchen a lot faster.
5. Make time in the early morning hours to catch up with your day. You can also use this time to review the calendar and to-do items for the day and touch on the calendar for the week as well. No need to keep it all in your head. Keep a small notepad and pen near the phones (at home or at work), this makes taking messages easier for everyone and you can use it to jot down 'notes to self'--you know, the little things we remember throughout the day and we forget as soon as we leave the area. OK well, maybe it's just me, but it does help to write things down.
6. Remember to take care of YOU! Read the newspaper, read a novel, do some crossword puzzles or Sudoku puzzles to keep your mind sharp; lay on the floor and stretch; do some Yoga; practice deep breathing and relaxation before going to bed. You will likely have a better night sleep and wake up feeling more energized and refreshed, ready to take on, yet another, wonderful day.
Here's a quote to consider- "I think in terms of the day's resolutions, not the years'. ~Henry Moore
(photo credit- color pencils by n!ck.)